Seven Zimbabweans living in South Africa have died after drinking toxic homemade alcohol.
Thirteen others have been hospitalised, of which five are in a critical condition, after they consumed the brew that was tainted with methanol.
The tragedy unfolded on Sunday, a day before the ban on liquor sales was lifted under lockdown Level 3 in the country.
The latest death was recorded on Wednesday.
The men, who lived Masiphumele in Fish Hoek, had attended a party where the brew was served on Sunday.
Senai Rungano, 33, who is eight months pregnant, lost her husband Tapera who also drank the booze.
“I thought he was his usual drunk self but when I tried to give him food, he had no appetite,” she says.
“On Monday morning I thought it was a hangover, he started vomiting and had hot flashes.”
The mother of two says she was angry and shouted at her husband to get ready for work, but he was restless and didn’t recognise her.
“I realised that he was not responsive and his mental situation was different. He did not know that I was his wife,” she says.
Tapera was rushed to False Bay Hospital where he died while waiting to be transferred to Groote Schuur hospital.
“I am heavily pregnant with two kids and I do not work. I am renting here, where will I get the money now that he is gone?” asks the devastated widow.
The supplier of the booze is nowhere to be found and his girlfriend Triza Jere, 26, says the bottles used for the home-made brew were marked “flammable acid”.
“I did not taste it nor smell it because I hate alcohol,” she said.
“They could not drink it without mixing it with Coke or juice.
“My boyfriend also drank it and I do not know whether he died or is sick in hospital.”
Natalie Watlington, the Health Communications Officer for Southern Western Sub-structures, confirmed: “Twenty cases of methanol poisoning were admitted to False Bay Hospital thus far of which seven patients have passed away. Five of the patients have been transferred either to Victoria or Groote Schuur Hospital.
“The cause of methanol poisoning was due to the consumption of alcohol tainted with methanol.”
People sometimes use methanol as a substitute for alcohol but this is dangerous and harmful to humans.
Methanol is used to create fuel, solvents and antifreeze.